A look back at the USA’s 2010 World Cup

DonovanBradley (GettyImages) 

The 2010 World Cup keeps rolling on, but for U.S. national team fans, the reality is still sinking in that the United States' exciting World Cup run is over.

Success or failure? Tournament to remember or tournament to forget? While the disappointment of Saturday's loss to Ghana is sure to leave the lingering tinge of failure, we have to ask ourselves if the tournament the team did play was memorable and whether it exceeded or surpassed our expectations.

Truth be told, I don't see how anyone could call the tournament a failure. Winning the group, playing some exciting attacking soccer and capturing the interest and passion of America's mainstream, even if only briefly, was more than most could have imagined happening before the tournament began. The hard part is that there was certainly an opportunity lost because the USA missed a chance to potentially reach a World Cup semifinal, and play two more games to keep increasing the interest in the sport back home. That's why, for many, the aftertaste following the USA's World Cup is a bitter one rather than a sweet one.

If you haven't had a chance to read my post-match and post-tournament coverage of the United States over at FoxSoccer.com, here are some stories to check out:

My column on the Ghana loss

My piece on the USA players's World Cup grades

My look ahead to which players may be around for the 2014 World Cup

I will give a more detailed take on the potential USA 2014 team on SBI on Thursday (if not sooner). For now, here are some final World Cup observations:


I think Bob Bradley did a great job during the World Cup cycle, but I also think two World Cup cycles can be too much for any coach. While I wouldn't consider it a major mistake if he returned, I do think it is a good time for a change, both for the national team and for Bradley.

Bradley was the perfect coach to groom a young team and help it through the transition after the retirements of Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and Eddie Pope. He integrated new players, strengthened the team's schedule to a level that would have seemed unimaginable four years ago, and did a thorough job of looking at all the talent in the pool.

Now I see a change being made and Sunil Gulati will need to find a coach who brings a strong resume and experience in the international game. Juergen Klinsmann makes plenty of sense and it would be intriguing to see what Klinsmann could do over the course of a four-year cycle.

Change for the sake of change wouldn't make much sense to me, so I wouldn't really see the point in replacing Bradley with a coach from MLS. I do think there are some very good coaches in MLS, but I wouldn't really see the benefit of letting Bradley go and turning to someone in MLS. Now, if Bradley moves on and makes a run at a club job in Europe, then I could see someone like Dom Kinnear or Stevie Nicol being given a call.

That said, I still see Gulati looking for a big name. Be it Klinsmann, Carlos Queiroz or Ruud Gullit (okay, that last one was just to see if you were paying attention).


Landon Donovan got all the headlines, but Michael Bradley was the most impressive player on the U.S. team over the course of four matches in my book. I really can't see him staying with Borussia Moenchengladbach after the World Cup he just had. Where do I see him going? The English Premier League makes the most sense.


I know nobody likes playing the "What if" game but I can't help but think that, with a healthy Charlie Davies, Oguchi Onyewu and Jermaine Jones, the United States would have been a semifinalist with a chance of pulling off a big upset.


Whoever is the next coach will need to start grooming some centerbacks ASAP. Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra will be too old for 2014. There are some great prospects in MLS, but they need some serious seasoning. Tim Ream, Ike Opara and Omar Gonzalez are all quality, and I'm still convinced Geoff Cameron could be a standout centerback in Europe if he were allowed to develop at the position.


That's all for now. I will share my 23-man roster for 2014 on Thursday. For now, please feel free to share your thoughts on the U.S. team's World Cup. any of my Fox stories, and any of the above thoughts, in the comments section below.

This entry was posted in U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

210 Responses to A look back at the USA’s 2010 World Cup

  1. JSmiley says:

    Any chance CD9 will be ready/available for the friendly against Brazil?

  2. William the Terror says:

    Klinsman is just too mercurial. I can’t see him staying for the entire 4-year cycle unless he is given iron-handed control. Since that won’t happen with Gulati and the Federation, he will quit somewehere around the time qualifying begins, and we’ll have to find a temporary caretaker to get us through 2014.

    Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

  3. Andy in Chicago says:

    I agree with you that Michael Bradley was the best American player on the pitch. He seems to have honed his game to a level where he could be a major player for a non-elite 4 Premier League side. What’s even better is that he’s apparently learned how to not get a yellow or red card in every game he plays in.

    I also agree that Bob needs to go. He did a good job and got us to a major FIFA Final match in the Confederations Cup, but his favoritism hurts the team and its chances. Starting Ricardo Clark (who I’ve never really been impressed with) was quite possible the nail in the coffin for this team. Maurice Edu had shown so much better every time he’d been on the field and yet he’s not in the starting lineup? Come on, man… you’ve got to put your absolute best players out there at this stage in the tournament.

    Agreed also that our future defense is a big concern.

    And I just want to reiterate because I can’t say these things enough. Jozy needs to learn how to use a soccer ball. His touch is horrendous and if he could just learn a softer touch and be able to just turn and shoot like every other great striker, he could be lethal. He had better learn to soften his touch before 2014 because if he doesn’t, we’re in big trouble again.

    The second thing I want to reiterate is that can we get a coach in here who makes our players move off the ball? The game’s all about space and if you watch our team, the only space that’s ever open is passing back to our defenders and to the goalkeeper. Off-the-ball movement is key. All the great sides do it. And for a team that prides itself on being so athletic and fit, why can’t we do that? We should definitely have the fitness level to do so.

    That is all for now.

  4. KevNYC says:

    Bradley the Elder exceeded my expectations. I often disagreed with his selections but congrats and good luck to him. A new foreign coach could help. Perhaps an attack-minded coach a la Bielsa or a high level and proven Dutchman? But mainly, we need to develop talent to get to the next level. Think John O’Brien-like composure on the ball. We need two or three of them in the middle.

  5. Murphy says:

    Right on Ives–this is what hurts the most for me. Too bad these guys were hurt, I think they would have made the difference! Davies was the threat upfront we needed, a healthy Gooch was solid last summer, and Jones would have fit nicely with Mike Bradley in central midfield…

    “I know nobody likes playing the “What if” game but I can’t help but think that, with a healthy Charlie Davies, Oguchi Onyewu and Jermaine Jones, the United States would have been a semifinalist with a chance of pulling off a big upset.”

  6. Andy in Chicago says:

    Torres is a player who has the kind of composure we need. Yes, he had a bad game against Slovenia, but I blame a good part of that on his teammates and his positioning on the field. He constantly had nowhere to pass to (due to nobody getting open…), and for an attack-minded player like he is, did you notice how deep in our own half he was receiving the ball? It was ridiculous.

  7. MC Pharoah says:

    I’ve already started making my 2010-2014 player pool. We have a bright future. By the way, I would like to see Queiroz as the next manager.

  8. war says:

    Transfer-wise, I really can’t see landon to Arsenal. They’ve got Van Persie, Chamakt, Arshavin,Walcott and Bedtner. If Hogdson goes to Liverpool and brings Dempsey, and signs Bradley(as Liverpool can see him when they play Gladbah in August) I see them playing. Babel and Lucas aren’t…well…top competition. Dempsey and Bradley are good options (given Liverpool play Gladbach in a friendly this year) as Lucas and Babel aren’t much of a competition.


    —–Stevie G



    —I would like Klinsmann as a coach. Not only for his rep as a player and a coach, but he may try to encourage our already abroad players to try to upgrade teams/leagues. The only thing I have against bringing in another guy from MLS is favoritism for home-based talent. I’d hate for Bradley’s Clark-Findley (and at times JB) tandem to be replaced by Marshall-Rogers, etc. p.s our tuneup friendlies did show Marshall-Goodson pairing to fail…well… Marshall failed.

    I think we have some good players coming up, including forwards, but the only gap is really the other CB spot with Clarence.

  9. Erik V says:

    I thought the USMNT did better than expected. The biggest improvement for me was that the players avoided making clumsy tackles that lead to too many red cards in the past. Also agree that both Bradley’s were great. Think the coach can stay, there just needs to be a change in how they approach friendlies. I think they are trying way to many players. You need those friendlies to get players to get used to each other.
    as far as 2014 goes I think the future of the USMNT is bright. Think there are allot of rookies in MLS now that have the potential to be starters in 2014.

  10. Javier says:

    Favoritism? Doesn’t seem fair to throw that word around just because he went with a guy and it didn’t work out. Nobody was claiming favoritism when Clark had a great tournament last summer. People have thrown that word around with Bob and his son, Kljestan, etc., and we’ve seen how accurate that was.

    Unrelated qeustion.. is Andy Najar likely to play for us down the road, or Honduras?

  11. HoboMike says:

    I’ve seen so many comments like these. I read a poster say that Bradley should chance his formation/gameplay to accommodate Torres. Funny…I thought his job was to win and not cater to the masses?

    Face it. Torres was given 2 chances to shine (Slovenia, qualifier against Costa Rica) and he played miserably both times. I’m sick of everyone making 90 excuses for this kid? Do I like him? Yes. Does he possess skill? Definitely? Has he showed it yet, outside of a friendly Turkey match? Absolutely not.

    Against Slovenia, he didn’t look anywhere to pass except backwards. Not all of that can be blamed on his teammates. The Torres love, and subsequent hate on all else non-Torres, is misplaced, for now.

  12. Charles says:

    Maybe the tourney was a success, maybe we are in the 9th-16th best range with England, Mexico and some other really good teams. Probably are.

    But man, 7 group stage winners and Ghana in the quarter-finals hurts.

  13. Aristophanes says:

    could you imagine how much Arsenal would be improved by switching Walcott for Landon??? Walcott sucks.

    They like to play a 4-5-1. With Van Pesie as the one, a five of
    Arshavin – Cesc – Song – Donovan – Nasri would be pretty sick.

  14. HoboMike says:

    While I disagreed with a few of BB’s selections, I thought he did a good job overall. He did everything USSF laid out for him: win the Gold Cup, have a good showing in the Confed Cup, qualify first for the World Cup, and make it out of the group (which he actually won). Unfortunately, I do think the Ghana game would have been different had he started Edu and Buddle/Gomez instead of Clark/Findley, but there will always be second-guessing involved.

    I thought he showed good managerial, tactical, and adjustment skill when he changed the formation to a rarely-used 3-4-3 against Slovenia, and especially when he made the decision to stop playing an obviously-hurt Gooch (I’m sure that decision was very hard). As Ives said, I really wonder where we would have been with Jermaine Jones and Charlie Davies, since the two things we needed most were a defensive destroyer and a goal scorer. I think the semis would not have been out of the question.

    Looking forward, I think we have an excellent chance to meet or exceed our position in 2014. Our attack was very young in this world cup, and most of them will be in their primes for 2014. The back line is definitely a concern, and I’m not well-versed in the Ream/Opara/etc. player pool, so I can’t give my honest opinion. But I respect BB’s efforts, I really respect this team, and I really, REALLY look forward to 2014.

  15. Aristophanes says:

    I’d also enjoy seeing:
    —————- R.V.P. ———————-
    — Arshavin —- cesc —— donovan —
    ———-song —– bradley ———-

  16. HoboMike says:

    Unfortunately for him, we have a logjam at his natural position of CM. Bradley has less true technical skill than Torres, but I think he’s a better player nonetheless. Some of the 2014 position battles will be interesting to watch, and that will only make everyone on the team better. Is a 3-5-2 completely out of the question?

  17. Andy in Chicago says:

    I remember him looking good against Costa Rica, being inexplicably substituted off (at the half, I think?), and then people around here wondering why that was done.

    I don’t hate everything non-Torres. I called for Edu to play in the Ghana game and he didn’t. I’m just not impressed (nor have I ever been) with Ricardo Clark.

  18. Jake Oliver says:

    Ives, does the fact that Michael Bradley is likely to be our most important player going into 2014 factor into the Federation’s decision on his father’s future?

  19. jtk says:

    Agree. BB did a great job and, hell, if he has the energy for it then he imo should have the reigns again for another 4 years. However, i expect that he and the ussf will part ways.

    If I remember correctly BBs contract pays him through the end of the calendar year. So assuming that is correct you’d have to think they would bring a new coach in beginning next year.

  20. HoboMike says:

    He was subbed off because he did not look good and was directly involved in the first CR goal (along with Bornstein). He settled down in the latter stages of the first half, but was still getting muscled around and pushed off the ball, which is pretty easy to do since he’s 5’6″.

    I 100% agree with you on Clark, though. His passing skills (or lack thereof) are hilarious. His penchant for getting cards is ridiculous. Edu brings so much more to the game.

  21. Andy in Chicago says:

    Egad now I look back and find the game and Bob subbed out Torres for (one of his favorites) Kljestan. Ugh. (To be honest though, I was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t bring Sacha to the WC… I thought he had finally been enlightened. Turns out that was only partially true.)

  22. Andy in Chicago says:

    3-5-2 shouldn’t be out of the question.

    IMO we need to get Stuart Holden more minutes as well because he is one of our best midfield talents. He’d better be playing a big part in 2014 as well.

  23. HoboMike says:

    I actually don’t think he should stick around, simply because 8 years is a long time for any coach in any sport, but especially in soccer. He may be too inclined to rely on some guys who got us here in 2010 (as Arena did), and his message could get stale. I’m also not sure Klinsmann is the guy. A buddy of mine who is close to the German national team said the buzz was that Klinsmann was a great motivator and planner but a horrible tactician. That part of the Germany team in 2006 was left to Low, the current coach (and then-assistant), which is basically why they look much more organized this time around.

    In a perfect world, a Hiddink-type would be an unbelievable fit….if the USSF can get out of the coach’s way.

  24. Stephen says:

    Yeah. He is a big admirer of American soccer.

  25. HoboMike says:

    Actually, Kljestan didn’t have a bad game then, which is funny, since 95% of all his games for the MNT were pretty bad. We looked much better when he came on.

    I’ll always think that BB didn’t expect a result in that game anyway, and decided to tinker with formations and personnel to see exactly what he had.

  26. Felix says:

    I’m not really a big fan of the Klinnsmann appointment. He was a complete bust at Bayern Munich and with the German national team, playing at home, only got to the semifinals. To me that team in ’06, as well as this current team, is brilliant because of Joachim Low not Klinnsmann.

    To me, Klinnsmann should be in charge of youth development, something to that nature, I think he is overrated as a manager. He can only be appointed if he has a brilliant #2, someone who is very tactical to balance the emotional Klinnsmann.

  27. Mason says:

    IMHO, Michael Bradley will be fine regardless of what his father does at this point.

  28. HoboMike says:

    +1. I think we posted the same thing at the same time.

  29. Andy in Chicago says:

    Off topic, but.. HoboMike, I like you. We both aren’t impressed with Clark. We both think Kljestan is bad most of the time. And when we don’t agree on something, you actually debate it with me instead of calling me an idiot like has happened to me in the past here. It’s nice.

  30. Joamiq says:

    “The second thing I want to reiterate is that can we get a coach in here who makes our players move off the ball? The game’s all about space and if you watch our team, the only space that’s ever open is passing back to our defenders and to the goalkeeper. Off-the-ball movement is key. All the great sides do it. And for a team that prides itself on being so athletic and fit, why can’t we do that? We should definitely have the fitness level to do so.”

    YES. YES. YES.

    You have hit the nail on the head. Our attack looks fluid when there’s movement off the ball, but it happens far too rarely. Keep your shape on defense, but on the attack you HAVE to give the man with the ball options by moving off the ball. Otherwise all you’re going to get is square balls and back passes. That’s no way to break open a defense.

  31. Andy in Chicago says:

    I think that a change in coach is needed as well. I think it will have a big effect on our chances in 2014 as well as one other thing: Jozy Altidore.

    You said that we desperately need a goal scorer and I agree. If Jozy can actually manage to develop some ball skills, he could be that goal scorer. 2014’s success is also largely dependent on him in my opinion.

  32. HoboMike says:

    Agreed – it’s much nicer and more productive to have a civilized discussion. I also agree with Holden, and I think he’ll be a HUGE player in 2014 for us. A few of my English friends say that they’re actually relieved he didn’t get on the field more against England – after Dempsey, they think he’s our most skilled player.

  33. BSU SC says:

    All 3 stories were very well written. The only omission I saw was the inclusion of Michael Parkhurst name in the pool of defenders for 2014. He’s still young and is finding consistent playing time in Europe.

  34. DJ says:

    +2. Losing to Ghana, in the manner we did (set up for failure by the self-inflicted wounds of starting Clark and Findley) takes any sense of success out of this tournament.

  35. Joamiq says:

    I have to agree as well. Klinnsmann is no tactical genius.

  36. Andy in Chicago says:

    If USSF uses this to help decide on Bob’s future, they should clean house because this is not about sentimental family BS, this is about winning.

  37. BSU SC says:

    Edgar Castillo’s name should also be on the list.

  38. ko'd says:

    Michael Bradley has matured quite a bit since the days of his unnecessary yellow and red cards, and he has demonstrated that he has the talent and ability to grow. Even with all that, I have to say that his competitiveness and drive are what make him a cut above the rest. You can tell he just wants it.

    Even if you put aside his intensity of the field when playing and celebrating, you can see how competitive he is. USSoccer.com’s Studio 90/Extra Time with Bradley solidified it for me. For something as meaningless as a “Back-Four Quiz,” I haven’t seen many people that intent on winning. And then when he got the last name for the Italian team, “Zambrotta,” he was beyond thrilled–and he was not kidding around.

    I understand that Jozy, by nature, is more laid-back. But I bet if Jozy had the intensity and drive of a Michael Bradley (or Wayne Rooney–and no, I am not comparing talent here), Jozy would be a markedly better player than he is now.

  39. HoboMike says:

    IMHO, he should not be a locked-in starter for 2014 until he shows more presence around the goal (and against teams that are a tick better than Trinidad/Tobago). And I’m talking about on his club team as well.

    However…..he’s only 20, which is awesome. How many other 20 year olds had the kind of impact he did this year, outside of Muller (who’s freaking awesome)?

  40. Joamiq says:

    What I would really like is for Bob to coach in Europe for four years and then come back to the national team for the 2018 run. I agree that 8 years on the trot is a long time and can make things stale, but Bradley’s experience over the past 4 years would definitely come in handy down the road.

  41. Cleveland says:

    Agree on the what if. Jones does not make the mistakes Clark made, Davies gives us a true scoring threat up top and a healthy Oguchi would have given us a much more athletic back four. Is Jones too old for 2014? That is if he recovers.

  42. HoboMike says:

    +1. When has a stud athlete, in any sport, been laid-back? It’s not an excuse, it’s a character flaw….and you can’t be great without it.

  43. A.S. says:

    Your player grades’ article is very good, Ives. I’ve always been one of those who have questioned Michael Bradley (in colloquial terms, a Michael Bradley “hater”, even though in reality I have simply questioned his apparent right to a midfield spot). However, I’ve got agree with you that Bradley was probably the best player on the team in the World Cup. I was highly impressed.

    As for your other player grades, I’d quibble with a few.

    Specifically, I thought that Jozy did not play that well. In fact, I basically think that he showed the same form in the World Cup as he showed for Hull City during the year: he has been incredibly poor at finishing. I don’t know why, but that’s the reality of it. If we wanted a target forward who was adept at playing the ball to others, we could have brought along Brian Ching. What we *desperately* needed was a forward who *scored*. And he wasn’t that guy. I don’t think he should go to Villareal next year. He should go to a Second Division side that will allow him to play against less adept defenders and obtain some scoring touch. He’s never going to learn to score if he is playing against the likes of Pique or Marchena or Marcelo all the time.

    I also think that Feilhaber and Edu deserve higher grades, and Torres can be graded (badly) rather than given an incomplete.

  44. Roy says:

    Strangely, Bradley is one of the only managers I’ve noticed who threw players forward in big numbers when it counted (late in the match). Other teams, like Portugal yesterday, played conservative in the final minutes of their elimination, which is something I just don’t understand. So I’m giving Bradley credit for that even if he did make some questionable player selections.

  45. EA says:

    Parkhurst has proven (more than once) that he’s not international quality. He’s looked average, at best, every time he’s been capped.

  46. JB says:

    I personally think we do have some good young talent that will be available for 2014 or at the latest 2018.
    Hamid, Gyau, Renken, Diskerud, Lletget, Gill, Jerome, Opara, Llichaj, Gonzalez, Mcinerney, Agbossoumonde, Alston. Not all of them will be ready but its not a terrible list of prospects to go along with Jozy, Davies, Adu?, and all of our midfield depth. These guys will only get better.

  47. Cleveland says:

    Is Jermaine Jones too old for 2014? If he recovers.

  48. war says:

    It would be great, but they just got Chamakt, which means they’ll push V.P. wide for a 4-3-3 with

    Van Persie-Chamakkt-Arshavin



    -They just bouth Kos yersterday from Lorient.

  49. war says:

    If Fab leaves, they have Song ir Diaby central and can play Landon, but they are all different types of players. With Fab gone, they have Nasri as the only creative player, with Song as def insurance and Diaby as an attacking lanky-tank.

  50. BSU SC says:

    I don’t disagree w/ that. But he’ll be 29 or 30 in 2014. If he continues to get regular minutes in Europe then he has plenty of time to get to the next level.

    Michael Orozco is another name I’d throw into the mix.

  51. HoboMike says:

    Agreed. The US was the only team that played to win when they needed to win, which is why I think we gained a lot of respect. Algeria was in the same boat we were in, and they didn’t press anything. Greece needed a win against Argentina, and effectively went with a 5-4-1, with two of their CMs being centerbacks (basically making it a 7-2-1). Portugal took off their only threat in the game (Almeida). It was refreshing.

  52. EA says:

    I really don’t get all the Klinsmann love.

    He got run out of Bayern Munich before he’d finished the season. The following season, they’re in the Champions League.

    He took over Germany (which has been a top 5 nation for what… 50 years?), and “led” them to a top 5 finish. On German soil.

    That’s it.


    Exactly which accomplishment are we supposed to be impressed with?

    He’s the Lane Kiffen of international football coaches.

    I think swapping Bradley for Klinsmann is NOT a 100% certain step forward, and I would fear, turn out a lot more like Eriksson did with Mexico. I really, REALLY don’t want to be starting the Hex in 2012 and having an “oops, our bad, hope Bruce Arena isn’t busy” moment from USSF.

  53. Nicole says:

    I think it was a success. This team ignited passion for US soccer in this country and gave us some of the most thrilling moments ever in our history. They actually over-achieved for a team with a bad defense and no forwards. I’m super proud of them.

  54. HoboMike says:

    Definitely not. He’ll be 31, which is fine for a defensive midfielder, and he hasn’t played in 1.5 years, so he’ll basically have 29 year old legs. How many legs, though, is the question. I’ve never seen a recovery take this long and turn out to be successful.

  55. EA says:

    *Champions League Final. Sorry…

  56. Aaron in StL says:

    I agree but a lot of the critique has come from how structured our formation/system is. The same has been said of England.

    I definitely see the good in getting a non-Anglophile so we can get a different perspective here. We definitely need a linch-pin target man but the new manager needs to allow, and moreso encourage the Dempseys and the Donovans to roam a little more. The skeletal structure we play with probably has a lot to do with the lack of movement off the ball.

  57. HoboMike says:

    Not all of them will play with us, either. Lletget already said probably not. Diskerud said he’d play for whoever comes calling first (US or Norway).

  58. Cleveland says:

    Bob did a good job of increasing the strength of schedule. I wish we could be guest in the South American championship or European Championship. That might help keep the country’s interest so we do not have to wait 4 years. The media would have to help build it up. The Gold Cup is not enough.

  59. HoboMike says:

    I’ve mentioned it above, along with Andy, but let’s not forget about Holden. Dude is a stud in the making.

  60. war says:

    I wouldn’t call getting sent off in your first game “having a great tournament”. He was still hacking afterwards

  61. Cabrito says:

    The team produced some memorable moments but I don’t think you can label the tournament a success. They were lucky against England, tied Slovenia, barely beat Algeria, and lost to Ghana. Not an impressive resume by any stretch.

    Even the so-called “successes” of 1994 and 2002 involved a lot of luck. Let’s get real.

    You can’t win at this level without creativity in the mid-field. We’re a long way from that.

  62. HoboMike says:

    There are no guests in the Euros. They take that almost more seriously than the WC.

    I’d like for us to play in the Copa America again, though, and with an A team this time (although I understand his reasons for using a B team last time and I’m fine with it).

  63. A.S. says:

    I’ll add that, whoever is the next coach, please schedule some West African sides in friendlies! We need to learn how to play aginst them.

  64. Cleveland says:

    I agree about Holden. He made an impact the first time he played for Bolton. Granted, it was Bolton.

  65. Stephen says:

    I’ve been calling for a 3-5-2 for a while. I like that formation and it utilizes the position on our squad that has the most depth.

  66. Erik says:

    I went straight to the comments, can be bothered to relieve this nightmare.

  67. ko'd says:

    And it can absolutely be changed. Case in point: Altidore looked like a different player against Costa Rica in October after Davies was hurt in the car accident. He was inspired. Chasing down balls, creating chances. He was amazing.

    Some might say: Well you can’t duplicate the feeling of/motivation from a friend’s near-death accident. That’s bogus. Nothing has changed. Life is still just as fragile as it was in October. Altidore just got used to it.

    The Bradleys and Rooneys of this world draw up motivation from any place they need: a friend’s near-death experience, a need to be the best, a desire to win, a need to prove that you are better than the man you are taking on. The possibilities are limitless because it is all mental.

    Jozy doesn’t have that, and I often wonder if that’s why “reports” claim that he does not train well. I am not prone to speculation or conclusory statements, but if Jozy doesn’t figure this out, he won’t be of much benefit to the U.S. or his club team.

  68. Dan says:

    Ives, great analsyis of the USMNT’s performance and I agree with everything. We deserved the fate we suffered. Ghana was faster and more athletic than the US, and they were more determined, too. Another observation, Ghana routinely strung together 8, 9, 10, 11 passes in a row; whereas the US was lucky to put together 4 passes. If you don’t have possession of the ball, you don’t have an opportunity to score. It’s simple, but the Ghana game really showed everybody what’s wrong with American soccer.

  69. Stephen says:

    The first 30 minutes of his first tournament. I like Clark, more than most I think, and I think he will get better if he gets playing time @ Frankfurt and I think he is a workhorse. But I will be the first to admit that he laid an egg against Ghana.

  70. Joamiq says:

    I know Bornstein played well, and I’m not a real Bornstein hater, but giving him a B while giving Edu a C+ and Feilhaber a B- doesn’t seem right. Bornstein was simply dependable and not bad. Feilhaber (and to a lesser extent Edu) exceeded that standard. They were not merely “not bad” but actually quite good, and really added something to the team, unlike Bornstein, whose performance was more a relief than a revelation.

  71. Hincha Tim says:

    I too agree regarding movement off the ball. We also need players all over the pitch who have first touch to be able to move the ball quickly and retain it under pressure.

    Watch how Germany has played this WC, with its movement off the ball. That is exactly the style of play that the US needs and can play if coached correctly and the right players selected. I think Klinsman is the right coach. He, along with his assistant, now head coach, constructed Germany’s current style of play. He knows the U.S. mentality and he could institute a system of play using the right type of players (the Feilhaber type in midfield instead of the Ricardo Clarke) that brings the US to the next level.

  72. A Guest says:

    That would be really fast.

  73. A Guest says:

    That would be excellent. You’re on fire.

  74. Aaron in StL says:

    You say that…but consider our other options. Essentially non-existent. I would have to imagine that Jozy will develop at a higher grade than any unknown.

  75. Stephen says:

    +1. I kind of hate the way the USSF tries to build around 1 player and dictating it’s formation and style of play around that person instead of letting the team dictate style of play. We have seen it with Donovan, although granted it worked out for the most part, we also see if with Jozy Altidore. We have these players that are dubbed “future stars” and we center everything around them. We kind of saw the same thing with Adu.

    Not many other teams do that, although an argument that some teams (a la Brazil) have enough stars to be able to dictate play.

    I like Jozy, I think he has great potential. But, like some people on here, I don’t think he should be an automatic starter.

  76. Aaron in StL says:

    We definitely finished #1 in the brass balls category. Displays may have not been the prettiest, but our guys have intestinal fortitude.

  77. HoboMike says:

    Isn’t there some lonely Brazilian that needs naturalizing? Can all the SBI Mobsters throw in $10 to make it happen? Everyone else does it. There’s one on Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia….

  78. Fred Garvin says:

    I will consider team USA to be on the right path when at least 20 different players can play together off the bench and compete in a World Cup. Our team looked gassed against Ghana. That is not world class.

  79. Stephen says:

    Bradley has 2 or 3 more world Cups in him. (MB that is.) Are we going to let that dictate how long BB stays? I mean are we going to keep him around till his son retires internationally? I don’t think that would be very wise. Even is BB stays for one more cycle I doubt he’ll stay for 2 or 3 more.

  80. Aaron in StL says:

    If we had the right personnel I think Bielsa could at least bring exciting soccer, but not sure we have the right defensive players in the pipeline for a system such as his. But who knows maybe some of these young guys will step up sooner than later.

  81. Andy in Chicago says:

    Yep, you are right.

    Imagine these guys all on the same field:

    Michael Bradley
    Jose Torres
    Stuart Holden
    Landon Donovan
    Maurice Edu

    There are even other options in Feilhaber, maybe even Adu if some sort of amazing resurrection happens. (Also, I like Clint up top rather than as a MF so that’s why I didn’t list him.)

    I’m not saying that I know that a 3-5-2 experiment would work wonders for this team, but dammit it’d be really interesting to try out sometime.

  82. RK says:

    Steve Carlton
    Albert Pujols
    Dale Murphy

  83. Stephen says:

    We should give him a look, but from what I’ve heard he’s not any different that Bornstein.

  84. RK says:

    I think its a lazy choice — there are many more candidates out there if people look.

  85. Aquaman says:

    People keep saying that Diskerud said he’d play for whoever called first, but then don’t mention that the US did call first by putting him on the team for the U-20 world cup. After which he told Stabaek and the Norwegian association of his intent to play for the US. His teammate Benjamensen has said much the same thing, both saying they feel more American than anything else.

    I also haven’t seen Lletget say anything other than he’s American. His grandfather is Italian, but he’s also good friends with Spector at West Ham and the article on ESPN I read a long time ago said that he’s tested more than other because he is American, or something like that.

  86. Alex says:

    Quick question: Am I the only one that’s tired of hearing how it’s a national team coache’s responsibility to “groom” the next generation of players? In my opinion it’s the responsibility of the clubs and youth programs to start developing top quality players. And the time spent with the national team is so short and sparse it CAN’T be the coache’s responsibility to groom them. Yes, he can blood them in international soccer and expose them to new situations but I don’t blame Bradley or Arena that we haven’t developed a top quality finisher in the last 10 years. It’s simply not their responsibility.

  87. KevNYC says:

    Haven’t seen enough of Torres to truly judge but to me Feilhaber has more skill, composure on the ball, vision and attacking skills than Torres. Maybe there is a reason he plays in Norway/Denmark instead of a bigger league? But he is the only creative spark I see in the middle.

  88. A Guest says:

    He’s got a few years left before we write him off. Not many, tho.

  89. HoboMike says:

    Here’s a quote from Lleget:

    “If I got the chance, I would probably take it,” Lletget acknowledged without taking much time for a second thought. “My heart’s always going to be with the U.S., it’s just that playing for a European team is amazing. It’s just a higher level. That’s how far I want to push it.”

    And Diskerud’s played for Norway U-18 and U-19. With all of the defections, I define “calling first” as cap-tying him.

  90. Adam M. says:

    Failure. We failed to score against Ghana in 120 consecutive minutes other than a penalty. We failed to score against Algeria for more than 90 consecutive minutes. We failed to score against England for more than 90 consecutive minutes except for a total fluke off a nothing shot. We failed to score against Slovenia for more than 45 consecutive minutes. Our forwards had no goals. On the defensive side, we repeatedly gave up goals minutes into mulitple games (and in extra time) that left us behind for almost the entire tournament. That we advanced appears to have more to do with the lack of a South American team in our group than anything else. We probably had the easiest group of 16 draw and failed to win a winnable game, in part because of an early defensive mistake by someone who should not have started. As a result, and despite everything else, we failed to make the quarterfinals given what has to be the easiest group of opponents imaginable in a World Cup. We won our group, by winning only one game, because our manager, out of desparation, ended up fielding our strongest side only in the second half of games, a fact he failed to grasp in time for the Ghana game. In short, we did not reach our full potential in any aspect of the game other than hard work, which was always a strong point. The results flattered us.

  91. HoboMike says:

    Subotic said he felt American too. We all know how that turned out.

  92. A Guest says:

    Maybe. IF he mends, and IF he stays mended, and IF he doesn’t pick up any other injuries, then perhaps. I’d love to be wrong, but I bet he’s marginally useful for us (meaning a def. step up in quality, but with extremely intermittent availability).

  93. ko'd says:

    hahaha. Baseball? A sport where Prince Fielder can be an “all-star”? Maybe I am missing your sarcasm.

  94. Stephen says:

    Well what I was thinking was something like this.


    This way there is enough defensive cover. Bradley is not merely a DM but more of a hybrid. So, if Jones is healthy I would say him and Edu back there, or another solid DM. And, this may be crazy but I would put Bradley in the CAM spot and maybe have him drop off a little deeper into the MF. Then you’ll have LD/Holden and Bedoya (or someone else) on the wings and 2 of either Dempsey, Altidore, Davies or someone who is up-and-coming.

    I don’t know if Gooch will ever recover fully and how much time he’ll get at his club over the next 4 years, but having 3 in the back will require a little more speed back there. Goodson could be a good option. With the two DMs there will be a fair amount of defensive cover in the middle.

  95. Ben says:

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been pleased with Bob and his success with the national team. However, I couldn’t believe it when he started Clark against Ghana. Everyone at the pub was in a fuss about Bornstein getting two starts, but why put Clark in against Ghana, after he brought pretty much nothing to the England match!? Suspect call right there, but hey it happens.

    I would like to see more creative, busy (ie off the ball movement), and posession minded players on our USMNT in the future.

    And for the love of god, someone that can score up front!

  96. KenC says:

    The US team did fine. It could have been better and it could have been alot worse. Injuries happen and we have little depth. In 4 years, who knows who’ll still be around, but I doubt any of our current defenders will be up to it, which is probably a good thing.

    I’ll be fine with Bob if he’s kept for another cycle. He showed some flexibility, finally. I think he needs to experiment with more extreme lineups, as matchup mismatches are very important. He needs more than one speed guy up front, hopefully Charlie comes back to his former self. And, he needs to experiment with his best possessors in midfield. Against a team like England, you could see how Mexico, pre-Cup, dominated them with possession. We need to see how we could do with our best, some combination of Dempsey, Donovan, Torres, Feilhaber and others in midfield.

  97. Stephen says:

    Well I’ve heard there is a possibility of him moving. I’ve heard small rumors of a move to Spain or Germany for him.

  98. Aquaman says:

    But that’s not what Diskerud apparently considers calling first.

    “With the conflict of nationalities behind him, at least on the soccer pitch, Diskerud has declared his future sporting allegiance to the USA.

    “I am a Norwegian-American,” he explains. “I would love to play for both countries, but I can’t. I have have said first come – first served, in order to let fate take control, I guess. My agent has informed my club and the Norwegian Federation of my decision, and I only hope that I can be of use to Rongen and the US team.”

    “I am just as eager to get into the Olympics with the US team as to get to Egypt in September. It is in hands of the US coaches, and my ability to perform consistently and prove worthy.”

    As a full fledged American soccer player, Diskerud says he took great pride in watching the Americans triumph in South Africa, despite missing most of the final as he flew back to Norway from Cairo.”

  99. A Guest says:

    Yeah, Benny should have gotten a solid B. Bornstein, too, though only just. If he’d started his good run of play sooner, the others would have trusted him more and we’d have been much more complete.

    And I think Edu at C+ should probably be B-. I’d have dropped Jozy a half grade, too.

  100. Aristophanes says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see that lineup, war, but it’s also possible that chamakh would be a bench option. A team with Arsenal’s aspirations needs a deep bench.

  101. Paul says:

    Ives, you’re half-right on the coaching situation. Bradley did a great job, with the most successful four-year run in MNT history, but it is time for him to move on. But Klinsmann is NOT the answer; Low was the nuts-and-bolts guy in 2006, and Klinsmann did a ppor job at Bayern Munich. Nor should USSF focus only on the “big” names. And “familiarity with the US system” should not be a criterion when (1) most of the players play outside the US, and (2) good American assistants can fill that role (think Richie Williams and Hans Backe. The US should consider a range of foreign coaches with experience and a knack for spotting talent and developing a team.

  102. HoboMike says:

    Then I stand corrected, but I’m still a pessimist. It makes taking rejection easier.

  103. HoboMike says:


  104. Tony in Quakleamd says:

    If Bob had started against Ghana with the second half line up, we’d be talking about the Uruguay game right now….and if Gooch, Davies, and Jones never got hurt, we might be looking beyond it. Sigh…

    Looking ahead, I find Klinsmann and Queiroz the most likely candidates. They are familiar enough with the US player and culture to be comfortable, but “outside” enough to evolve it.

    As for Josy’s strike partner, my money would be on Donovan. At 32 he will still be fit but might be better uses in a withdrawn role with less two way responsibilities.

  105. g-dub says:

    Surprised to see such a narrow list of names being discussed as Bob’s successor. Sure, Klinsi is a good candidate, but what other coaches would be in the pool for consideration? Here are some names I’d like to see at least considered.
    Van Basten
    Dunga (if not with Brazil)
    Cappello (if dumped by England)

  106. Andy in Chicago says:

    The fact that Feilhaber has been playing in such a league has been boggling my mind for some time now. With what we have seen from him, you would think that he could easily fit in quite well with a mid or low-tier team in a top league.

  107. Sam Nishi says:

    Forward? Repeat after me and continue: JOSEPH GYAU .. .. JOSEPH GYAU .. .. JOSEPH GYAU .. .. This country will never be so fortunate again as to have this kid fall into our laps .. ..

    One of the ex-ManU Youth coaches said GYAU is as good as any teenager he has ever seen or coached and begged ManU to make a bid for him but then HOFFENHEIM swooped and grabbed him .. ..

    Not since LANDON will be there be greater interest in a foreign U-19 Academy side as Hoffenheim 2010-11!!

  108. Stephen says:

    He will be 32ish. But he should be well rested since he hasn’t played a match in over a year.

  109. Stephen says:

    But they did play more bunker ball than we did surprisingly.

  110. Aquaman says:

    I’m also Norwegian-American, so I may be overly optimistic when it comes to Benjaminsen and Diskerud. I also have to admit that there are some questions as to which country some of these young guys pick. I’m hoping Lletget becomes fully american, but he’s turned down joining the US in several tournaments recently which worries me.

  111. The Dutch players hated Van Basten, and Capello showed more rigidity than Bradley ever did.

  112. Thick Mick says:

    Bielsa! What he did with Chile was astounding.

  113. Thick Mick says:

    Formations change. His system of possession and fluid ball movement could be implemented with any system.

    Yeah, it would take a major paradigm shift for the average US player, but the USMNT isn’t supposed to be merely average. Besides, the vast majority plays abroad, so they’re adaptable.

  114. jd says:

    Is Jermaine Jones actually healthy for this upcoming year?

  115. Thick Mick says:

    “…of possession and fluid ball movement could be implemented with any FORMATION.”…

    Which is all to say, Bielsa would be a phenomenal choice. Great idea!

  116. Andy in Chicago says:

    I hope you’re right about him.

  117. Stephen says:

    I don’t know. I’m dying to know. Does anyone have any info?

  118. timF says:

    What, if anything, in his days as a player or manager would have labeled Klinsmann as a mercurial? That’s just a bs claim.

    Germany and Bayern Munich couldn’t accept the fact that Klinsmann wanted to bring some change to both. Yet here we have Germany reveling in the changes Klinsmann helped bring to them.

    All Klinsmann wants to do is help make the US better from the bottom up, is that so wrong, Klinsmann haters?

  119. Andy in Chicago says:

    I hate to be this way but I think that everyone mentioning Jermaine Jones needs to stop doing so. Jermaine Jones is a pipe dream at this point. I don’t believe he’ll ever don the USA kit so I refuse to get my hopes up.

    Move on and look forward to younger midfield players full of potential who will be there in 2014. Stuart Holden, Jose Torres, Benny Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, etc.

  120. Its toomuch says:

    cant stop crying….

  121. Pico says:

    I think the US participation in this cup was of mixed results. On the positive side, it has shown to the world that never-say-die spirit and it ability to fight to the last second. We have gotten recognition from the international press and fans for it. Along the way some players have impressed, most notably Bradley, Dempsey, and Donovan.

    On the negative side, the US team showed the lack of collective soccer thinking that has been displayed by most winning teams in this last round. Heart and hard work can only carry you so far, but it will not be enough to get results on a consistent basis against the elite teams.

    With regards to the coaching situation, I was not a Bob fan, but as the team has progressed, he has shown that he knows a little thing or two about tactics and has done a great job with the players he had available. I bet not too many would have noticed that he used a 4-2-2-2 formation in the long awaited match against England and he got a positive result.

    Some fans have mentioned the name of Bielsa as a possible candidate and I think he would an interesting option to the US team. Just hold your breath when we play Brazil under his command because he has an abysmal record against them.


  122. HoboMike says:

    I’ve heard nothing.

  123. Galaxy_Fan says:

    I went into a momentary spiral of despair when I saw Ruud Gullit’s name there. And then I kept reading, too bad my system was in too much shock to breath a sigh of relief. I think I’m starting to recover again, though.

  124. A.S. says:

    Shorter Joamiq and “A Guest” – what A.S. said at 10:33 a.m. above. :)

  125. sread says:

    You’re really writing off a great young player because you think he had two bad outings? Sure!

  126. Pico says:

    It is obvious some fans have an obsession with the EPL and pee in their pants every time an American player has an opportunity to play in Europe and they star clamoring for an EPL team destination.

    If there is one thing that this world cup has demonstrated is the fact the English do not produce good players for international competition. It is a horrendous environment for young player development if compared to other elite soccer nations. Yes it has some stars, but the national team is a mirror image of an ancient system based on the hoof and run style dictated by Stanley Reep many decades ago. The inexperienced German team made the English look old, slow, and without imagination. Did you know that only 38% of EPL players are English, whereas almost 100% German players play in the Bundesliga?

    Furthermore, if we take the last eight teams left in this cup and tally which leagues their players apply their trade, you will not see that many doing it in England (maybe Ghana has the most).

    Our players should take note and instead try to go to the more technical leagues like Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Italy, France, or Germany to try to grow as soccer players.

    Michael Bradley would do himself a big favor if he decides to go to Spain. He probably has the highest upside in the current team, and playing in that league will help him become a better soccer player.

    Jozy should be humble and do a stint with Villarreal’s B team and work on the basics that still elude him.


  127. reverb says:

    Absolutely right Alex. Too many posts about how the US team needs to develop the players. The national squad is only a tournament team and will never be together long enough at one stretch to “develop” the players even the least bit. The players are selected to be on the National team BECAUSE OF their development at the club level, not the other way around.

  128. Stephen says:

    Yeah, but if he makes it into camp he will be one of the more experienced players. The younger ones can learn from him, plus none of the ones you mentioned are a strictly defensive midfielder like he is.

  129. Torres is NOT an attacking midfielder. If you watch him play with Pachuca or in any of his US matches, he likes to play the deep role. Not necessarily in terms of playing a defensive role, but in terms of being a guy that helps keep possession, and not necessarily the guy that is going to make the final pass.

    This means he does not quite fit into the team RIGHT NOW in intense, competitive matches. He has shined in the second halves of matches where the other team was dropping off, but he has struggled in the first 20 minutes of matches where everything is 100 mph.

    He is only 22, so I think there is plenty of time for him to figure out either how to play a bit further up the field, or how to provide more defensively. He has a lot of promise, but isnt a starter yet.

  130. mikeandike says:

    USMNT need 4-5 youngsters to break through and seriously challenge Altidore,Donovan and Dempsey for starting spots in 2014… these guys may be the best we have, but that clearly is not enough against a team like Ghana even…

    If we have fresh talent on the team challenging the very best of this cycle, we’ll know that we can do ome damage come 2014, otherwise it’l be 2006 all over again- aging players barely holding donw the fort…

  131. He just coached the most uninteresting team of the tournament, and now you want him to be the favorite to get the US job?

    Outside of a match against a physically and mentally drained NK team, Portugal was pathetic. ZERO goals.

    Their entire offense was to give the ball to Ronaldo 45 yards out and let him shoot.

    Classic case of a team being worse than the sum of the parts.

    Not sure how that makes you qualified for a more demanding US job.

  132. AdamFromMich says:

    Dunga is an interesting possibility. Whether Brazil wins this World Cup or not, Dunga is not going to stay as their coach. He has made a lot of enemies in the Brazilian press. Of course, making enemies in the press is not necessarily a good thing.

  133. Joamiq says:

    Good call. Missed that.

  134. Aristophanes says:

    I agree that the English game isn’t quite as technically sound as the other top leagues, and that it also lags behind in developing players. But it’s just wrong to say that it doesn’t produce international quality players.

    Off the top of my head: drogba, ronaldo, torres, mascherano, gerrard, lampard, cole (england’s struggles aren’t really their fault), ballack, cesc, deco, vidic, evra, anelka, tevez…..come on, the list goes on and on and on.

    And if other leagues are so superior, what accounts for the EPL’s success in the champions league (this year notwithstanding, obviously)?

  135. Aristophanes says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious that one of the main reasons we root for Americans to play in the Premier League is that we mostly speak english and like to watch games in english, and that most of us follow that league the closest, not least of all because it’s the most available on TV stateside.

  136. JW says:

    If there is one thing I noticed this World Cup, the team mentality was a major factor in success. The USA was a great example of 23 players believing in each other, playing for each other and having respect and faith in their coach. Japan was another example.

    On the other end, when you have players second guessing the coach or infighting between the players such as France and England, one can easily see those issues spill out in the game.

    I believe we need to replace Bradley with someone that has the qualities we need to progress but equally important, would be the ability to get everyone believing in his philosophy of success. We really need to keep the “team” mentality and then keep working on the talent issue. Obviously someone like Ruud Gullit would not fit this mold which is why Ives made the little comment about him.

  137. Paul says:

    Another Norwegian-American here. Mix Diskerud has stated as clearly as he can that he wants to play for the US. Not so sure about Abrahamsen, but at the very least he is leaning toward the US.

  138. A Guest says:

    Almost none of the non-English players in that list developed there. They developed in Spain,Port, France, and Arg.

    The success of the EPL in the CL is because once the players are done cooking in the academies and start featuring domestically in those other leagues, EPL teams buy them.

  139. EA says:

    He looked great at Derby! Oh…. wait.

  140. EA says:

    I don’t think he’s a poor player, by any stretch, I just don’t think he’s an international level defender, especially as a central defender.

    I really like Brad Davis (with the Dynamo…) think he’s a good player, like his game, etc…. but he’s proven that he isn’t of international quality midfielder.

  141. Pico says:

    You just contradicted your own argument. Most of the non-English players you have listed there come from other soccer systems. THAT is the biggest difference.

    If you compare the English system for developing young English players against the other European systems, you can say that it pales. And that is a problem that will continue to affect the English international performance unless something is done about it.

    As per the names of Gerrard, Lampard, and Cole that you mention, many are questioning if they indeed are as good as the tabloids and fans make them out to be. It is documented that the first two cannot play together, but coaches insist on fielding them.

    Champions League is cyclical and it could be said that the pendulum is starting to swing the other way (unless you are an EPL die-hard trying to cover the sun with your thumb). The only constant during all these cycles is that the English team has not been good in international competition.


  142. fan4usa says:

    Great summary. Agree with all – especially coach evaluation of Bradley and future selection of Klinsmann. Bradley has progressed the US team, but we still need that ‘next level’ that can be brought by someone who has ‘been there, done that’.

    Questions about Gulati continuing…as he had the Klinsmann choice 3 years ago, and didn’t make it. Not sure what can be done to get a change at his level.

    Still would like to see more emphasis placed on back 4. If we don’t improve defensively, it will may be 3 to 4 games and out again!

    To the future!

  143. Vik says:

    I think if the USSF agrees to certain terms, Kllinsman will be happy to stay through the length of his contract. I am a little concerned about the depth of his tactical knowledge. Joachim Low was definitely the brains of the group. Klinsman’s got good ideas, but he’ll need a very solid assistant to realize them.

  144. Aristophanes says:

    Depends what you mean by developed.

    Drogba was growing in France, but he reached his potential at Chelsea (he’s been there since ’04).

    Cesc developed at Arsenal since he was 16. Anelka made his breakthrough with Arsenal.

    Mascherano has played most of his career in England.

    Ronaldo, the best of the best, was entirely developed at Man Utd.

    That’s about half of the non-English players I listed.

  145. Aristophanes says:

    see above

  146. Aristophanes says:

    I’m not a supporter of all things English. Not by any means. But I think a couple of things.

    First, the dismal display by the English national team is causing people to now overreact about the perceived weaknesses of the EPL and English players, while before the world cup the strengths of those two were overblown.

    Second, England’s problems this year can’t be explained by the so-called inadequacies of players like Gerrard, Lampard, and Rooney. Rooney matched Ronaldo’s feats at Man Utd. Gerrard almost single-handedly won the Champions League a few years back. Lampard is one of the most prolific midfield scorers in the world.

    Third, the development of English players is distinct from the development of non-English players. While it’s true that the structure of the EPL appears to hurt young english players, it;’s also true that the EPL has a history of taking promising youths from other leagues and turning them into world-class players.

  147. Aristophanes says:

    Although, it may very well be cultural and societal influences that hurt young english players far more than the structure of the EPL.

  148. Louis Z says:

    I think we had the talent to do more damage but it just wasn’t in the cards, our defense let us down just once at the wrong time. it didn’t help that the wrong MB partner started the final game.

  149. jbart65 says:

    The reaction to Klinsmann is interesting. Some think he’s a great fit, others believe he no big deal. A few argue that his top assistant was the mastermind in the last WC. (Hey, Jorge hired the guy, right?)

    Truth is, none of us really know. Only soccer insiders at the top levels of US soccer and German football really know how good Klinsmann is as coach.

    But here’s an outsider’s view of why Klinsmann would be a good fit for the USA team now. First, he has experience as a player and coach in the World Cup and played for one of the two winningest nations in WC history. He understands soccer at the highest levels.

    Two, Klinsmann has lived in the US for more than a decade and understands our nation’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to soccer. He is familiar with our sports culture and the nature of American athletes. He should be able to bridge the divide better than other foreign coaches.

    Three, he is a forward thinker who believes in the value of attacking football. This view fits in well with how the US would like to be seen someday. Americans will never abide by Swiss type defensive soccer meant to cover up for lack of offensive skill or athleticism.

    Fourth, Klinnsman would not be bound by the same favoritism as an American coach and he might be able to exert a positive influence on player development in the US. He likes to find and groom younger talent and is free from conventional constraints.

    I am not suggesting he is a perfect match, mind you. One could question is commitment to defense or whether he would have enough energy for the job. He did resign as German HC citing burnout. There is also the question of what happened at Bayern Munich.

    I don’t know what happened, but I do remember all the dread and trepidation when Klinsmann took over the German team and introduced a more attacking style. The German soccer VIPs were put off and Franz Beckenbauer was all over Klinsmann for two straight years – until German smashed through the group stage.

    The powers that be at Bayern were also very conservative and resistant to change. I suspect that had something to do with Klinsmann’s relative failure and firing. Remember how little support he got – nothing but stony silence – when he brought in Landon Donovan for a trial.

    I think Bob Bradley did a great job overall, but I’d like to see a foreign coach. Yet we need one sensitive to the, ah, unique American approach to the sport.

    Other than Klinsmann, I am not sure who fits the bill.

  150. Mat says:

    I’m really optimistic about the US’ future.
    This was by far the best US team ever at a WC, better than the one in 2002 by a mile. We never got blown out unlike the 2002 team, were able to come back into games – when was the last time you saw a US team at the WC able to come from behind. But more importantly, this is the first team ever that I have seen able to control the game for long stretches, create multiple scoring opportunities, and just take it to the other team. The reasons lie within the steady progression of US talent thanks to our ever growing player pool and talent. People will look back at 2009/2010 as a historic step in US soccer as it was the first in what I hope will be a long string of very skilled US squads. This is a total rupture with our past teams that solely relied on defense + counterattacking. It is very refreshing to see a US team able to take control of a game and basically have a “no fear” attitude. In other words, between the confeds cup final and the WC, something major happened: the USA now has a style of play which is its own and not a pale copy of other countries: a never say die, high energy, physical and gritty, fast paced play. Which is kinda cool because it reflects the whole American spirit kind of thing. I think this is BB’s legacy, though to be fair he was the first coach to have so much US talent at his disposal.

    Now, 2014. Whoever the next coach is, it is essential he maintains 7-8 (incld 4-5 starters) players from this current squad for the next WC, since WC experience is worth its weight in gold, and build the team around these.
    Barring injuries, I see no reason why our 2014 midfield is basically the same as the one we were using with the most success, Bradley-Edu-Donnovan-Dempsey. Let’s take that as something to build around. Up top Jozy had a gold WC despite not scoring, CD9 will be in the mix, but there is much room to improve still. In the back, we need some major changes, since our defense is really our weak spot (just think of ALL the goals we have allowed, even when our “best” 4 were all healthy and playing). 2 keywords here: athleticism and speed. I think we should take a look at Ghana’s back line as an example. They’re big and strong and quick. Easier said than done though…

  151. Louis Z says:

    I think there are right games to start Torres and wrong games. If you look at the slovenia game, our defense was circumventing him and playing long ball to either the forwards or a midfielder playing too high up.

    also, playing against an eastern european team which by nature are more physical wasn’t his cup of tea, after all, he is only 5’5 and 140 pounds. I thought he did just ok, didn’t hurt the team but he didn’t make his presence felt.

  152. Louis Z says:

    I also felt that Holden was missing in the lineup. he would have helped win and retain more balls. I guess BB had no idea where to use him without getting either dempsey or donovan pissed at him.

  153. CJ in OC says:

    I agree with you completely. My understanding, though, is that he really looks up to MB and MB’s style of play. He’ll look to be more of a box to box player, and may settle for playing a deeper role than MB does. If he steps up his defensive game he could do well next to MB.

  154. The bums will always lose says:

    So I do need to admit up front that I’m a full fledged Bornstein hater, so take this for what it’s worth. I thought he did a decent job in both games and justified Bradley’s confidence in starting him as opposed to our other options. That said, I think we’re a bit too quick to confuse “Hey, Bornstein didn’t have a major screw up!” with “Man, Johnny B played really well”. If you step back and look at it, he did a good job defending on the left side, was never caught completely out of position and was never really skinned 1v1. Basically, he did the minimum most teams would expect out of their left back. So, in that sense he did well and I’d give him a B-/C+. But his forays into the attacking third left something to be desired, in my opinion. To be honest, I forgot he was there most of the time, which is definitely a step in the right direction but not enough to give him a B. Maybe nitpicking, but hey, that’s what the interweb is for isn’t it?

  155. Louis Z says:

    I was hoping to see something like your lineup, our strength for this cycle was our midfield, too bad it wasn’t fully utilized.

  156. CJ in OC says:

    What about Gourcuff, aren’t arsenal trying to acquire him? And would Wenger dish out the money that MLS wants for LD?

  157. jbart65 says:

    I am very optimistic about the US backline for 2014. Lot of good young prospects who just need some seasoning. Ike Opara looks like he’s going to be a stud. Tim Ream has lots of promise. Geoff Cameron might be best suited to play centerback. Omar Gonzalez might be Gooch’s replacement. I think Sean Franklin can’t be overlooked. He’s a good attacker who delivers some nice crosses from the right side.

    The talent pool is getting better. The size and athleticism is there. Experience, or lack thereof, is the biggest problem. Still, look at what a young, well-coached German team has done.

    Sure, the US isnt Germany, but lessons can be learned about developing players for the WC.

  158. Louis Z says:

    I agree 2 out of 3. I don’t think Gooch has enough footwork to excel, he is excellent in the air but with him any possession ball that he has at his feet will usually be given back to the opponent. There is a reason why he was seldom used in Milan even before his injury.

  159. Joamiq says:

    Very fair point, I think (and I don’t consider myself a Bornstein hater).

  160. Louis Z says:

    Goodson is older than Gooch I thought. but he does look younger.

  161. BrianK says:


    First, Klinsman was a world class striker at the club and international lever. He was a World Champion with Germany in 1990. I would imagine that his CV as a player provides him with instant credibility with the team. Furthermore,…given that our forwards failed to score goals in two straight world cups,…we might benefit from his knowledge of playing that position at a high level.

    Second, he coached Germany in the World Cup in Germany. Germany finished 3rd having lost to the World Champions in OT. There is absolutely no shame in that. That is hardly a failure. In my opinion, Italy were the best team in the world in 2006, so I am having difficulty understanding how Germany’s performance was a failure.

    Third, he has embraced and is a proponent of American methods for training athletes and is also a seld-proclaimed student of some of the USA best coaches, such as Mike Krzyzewski. Clearly he harbors no prejudice against this country. In short,…he is a man with an open mind who is willing to apply/take the best of everything to achieve his goals.

    Fourth, his wife and children are American and he lives in California. He not a mercenary. It seems to me that he has a true affection and respect for this country and would take his success a coach to heart. I am not so sure we could say the same about some other ‘great’ foreign coaches out there. SGE comes to mind.

    Frankly, I think Klinsi is the perfect and most logical choice to succeed Bradley. Mind you,…I think Bradley should move on, NOT because I think he failed but rather because I do not believe in having national team coaches for more than one WC cycle.

  162. bf says:

    I agree with you about Bob, but not Jr.

    Sorry, Ives, but I watched the same games and still am not that impressed with Jr. Yes he works hard, but that does not make him a great player. To me he lacks skill and vision. His passing was ok at best, but rather simplistic. He does well defensively, but is not really a holding midfielder. To improve and really become a great player he needs to hone his foot skills, improve his passing, and start watching film of Xavi (or Jose Torres, for that matter).

    Bob did well with what he had and his skill level, but USA needs someone with more international experience to take US to the next level. He should have never tried to out hustle Ghana, as only skill would have beat them.

    BTW. My vote for best player this WC for USA was Dempsey.

  163. Mat says:

    Actually it’s funny you mention Germany when talking about the USA, since I was thinking that the team the USA makes me think the most of is Germany. The style we play, and the only one which is really successful, is one close the one of modern German football: fast, attacking, relentless. It’s in fact the style we should mimic, since it’s the one best suited to our American mentality, so perhaps Klinsman is a good fit, since he’s the one who forced that style upon Germany.

    Also, good point on our defenders. We do have some athletes coming through the ranks, which is essential. However, as you point out, we are lacking Europe experience there, contrary to our midfield or even striker pool of 2014. I’m especially high on the guy playing in Portugal (can’t spell his name though… Gale is his first I think), he impressed me with the youth teams. Another one is the Gonzalez from LA, I’d like him to move to Europe in a year or two. I think Spector shouldn’t be overlooked, as well, and maybe Parkhurst may contribute to some extent for the experience aspect.

  164. A Guest says:

    Development is youth, not “when you became famous.”

    I agree about Cesc. However, before coming to Arsenal, he spent 6 years in Barcelona’s Academy.

    The others?

    Ronaldo came to ManU at about 18.

    Mascherano was developed by River Plate, coming to the old world at about 22.

    Anelka played at PSG until 18.

    Their “development” was largely accomplished in their home leagues, as I said.

  165. bf says:

    yep… and he still plays like he has clubs on his feet. Unless he picks up some skill Bornstein will always be a liability in the making. He did exceed my expectations though.

  166. KEvin_Amold says:

    I wouldn’t count on it.

    I thought I was over this Ghana loss, but reading the headline made my stomach sink again. It should be expected that fans will experience ups and downs, but boy do these downs really hurt.

  167. BetaMale says:

    Yeah, somehow Queiroz played more bunker ball that the inventor of the style, Bunker Bob.

  168. DC Josh says:

    Wow, where to begin? I agree with your player grades. I hope we either get a foreign coach with a fresh perspective, or retain Bradley. I do not think picking up an MLS coach would benefit the US. Bradley is the best American coach we have.

    As for 2014. There will be players we haven’t heard of or are under the radar that will start in 2014. We have very promising talent out there. Samir Badr, Agbousomonde, Renken, Gill, McInerney, Hamid, Ream, Gonzalez, Pontius. The list goes on forever. However, the person with the most pressure has to be Claudio Reyna. Our youth system is in shambles and he is the man to fix it.

  169. Stephen says:

    One question…is a move to Anderlecht going to help Kljestan? Or is it about even development wise. I think Kljestan has promise if he could play in a more competitive league and learn to nuance his game a little. He’s got raw talent.

  170. Todd says:

    Jozy actually needs to re-prove that he actually belongs on the team. Actually, has have never proven himself ever. That one freak goal against Spain in the confederations cup was lucky. His spot on the roster should not be guaranteed by any means.

  171. Todd says:

    You can’t teach that. His cockiness and hence laziness is ingrain into this highly overrated player. That will change however, when no club team hires him. I bet he goes to Greece to join the other overrated players, Johnson and Adu.

  172. Todd says:

    Jozy should come back to the MLS

  173. Dinho says:

    That liverpool lineup sounds good, in theory, but so does communism.

    Torres, Stevie G and Mascherano will leave this summer. You heard it here (maybe not first), but here.

  174. ko'd says:

    That was a pretty solid post. I would only add that I have really enjoyed Klinsmann’s commentary on ESPN. But that is neither here nor there…

  175. Illmatic74 says:

    Yes there are some on athletes in baseball but there are plenty of elite athletes in baseball as well. The likes of Carl Crawford, the Upton brothers, Jose Reyes, Elvis Andrus, Austin Jackson, Jacoby Ellsbury, etc guys who are athletic enough for any sport.

  176. Jim in Atlanta says:

    People do not sleep on Yura Movsisyan. the kid is good, once his citizenship comes through we should hope he gets called into the national team. his plans right now seem to be going correctly. he said a while back that he wanted to do good in MLS, make the move to Randers do well, and catch the eye of the USMNT. So far so good, he has 6-7 goal already in 11 matches for Randers. the guy is a really good finisher, if he had his citizen ship sooner I think he would have been gaining more of a look to the NT than findley when he was with RSL.

    You guys should really check him out and he’s only 22!

  177. Andy from Los Angeles says:

    Just a thought here: Does anyone worry about Liverpool supporters reaction to signing an American player, like Dempsey?

    Bc of the awful ownership situation, if I were an American player, I’d stay away from Liverpool. I could see them being very harsh on him.

  178. Raymon says:

    Can someone explain Landon’s post-game “we were naive” comment. What did he mean or what do you think he meant?

    Did the team think Ghana would just crown them the kings of the knockout round? Did the team not prepare enough? Did the team spend too much time on YouTube watching us watch them?

    The comment suggests a mental / psychological preparedness issue, right?

  179. Mat says:

    By naive I think he meant tactically weren’t as aware as we should have been at times, and that offensively we were naive in the sense we kind of took some good chances to softly and/or made poor decisions (shooting when passing is better for instance).
    On both goals that naive side showed: though Clark lost the ball, there were still 3 players behind and no one was ready to anticipate a Clark error, so we were caught sleeping. In this case DeMerit was a bit slow to react for instance. Everyone took for granted Clark wouldn’t lose the ball, but as a defender you have to be more aware and ready. On the second goal it gets even worse. There’s no way Gyan should have gotten a shot off like he did if our defenders were more aware of the situation. Once again, we were naive in the sense that neither Boca nor Demerit anticipated the fact Gyan was a danger there: they had ample time to place themselves on that long and high kick from Ghana’s defense, but they just reacted to the play instead of anticipating it.
    On the other end, when you think of Bradley’s chance at the end when he shot a weak left footed strike, it was very naive in the sense he should have been aware of his placement relative to the opponents, know he had time to get on his good foot and put more pace on the strike instead of a half-arse grandma strike he shot. Same for Altidore, Findley, who really need to put more focus and drive in the chances they got.
    That’s what I think Donnovan meant by naive, that often we were more reacting to plays rather than anticipating.

  180. Raymon says:

    Nice explanation (not nice facts), thanks Mat.

    I suspect there are also some mental preparedness issues, for example

    (1) “naive” in not recognizing that there is a problem that we regularly concede early goals, and therefore not addressing it
    (2) naive in thinking that the Algeria game was “our final” and not being ready for Ghana
    (3) naive in thinking that our fitness will again win the day, when in reality Ghana were as fit, if not more

    I hope to hear more from the team about what happened, so we learn from it.

  181. ben says:

    Unfortunately, as an RSL fan who saw Yura many times in person, I can emphatically say that he is NOT a good finisher. I’ve seen him blow more open nets than anyone I can think of. Findley is 10x the player Yura is and RSL is actually better without Movs. If Yura Movsisyan is the great hope for US Soccer, we are in a world of hurt!

  182. Raymon says:

    Oh come on.

    The Ghanians beat up on Dempsey. Every time I saw him, he was on the floor! As far as sweat and blood, he contributed the most, and seems to have been unjustly denied some fouls. The PK had a make up element to it.

    Altidore is growing. In four years, he will just be approaching the opening of a soccer player’s peak seasons. All he needs is a better first touch to be a force. If he works hard, and barring injuries, he will only get better.

    I would also hesitate to criticize Landon for his form. Without him, we might have lost to Slovenia, and surely would have had a 0-0 Algeria game. He has outscored Rooney, Ronaldo, Messi, Torres, Drogba, and Ribery COMBINED. What more could he have done?

  183. CC says:

    Playing along with the what if game, injuries are bound to happen but our big injuries this cycle were Onewyu and Davies, and the defectors we lost on this cycle were Subotic and Rossi. That leaves this what if game two layers deep.

  184. I DMan says:

    Are you on drugs!!!!!!!!!

  185. Phil says:

    still too sad to comment – ah, what could have been!?!

  186. phil says:

    I still don’t believe the hype. Sure our strikers could use ANY of his input, and he’s a close to a marquee name as we could get as a coach, but Joachim Lowe was his assitant with Die Mannschaft and look how good they are. I can’t help but think the magic they had at the last world cup was his doing, not Jurgi’s.

    I wish there was a way we could have him as a consultant/advisor, but I’m not sure his track record merits being give the keys to the kingdom.

  187. phil says:

    Demps gets my vote too. My only beef with Junior is that he has the gens of a Defensive midfielder, but is being utilized as the playmaker. That should go to someone like an in form Benny or a more seasoned Torres. With Edu you’re going with two defensive mids which is fine, but ten they should both clearly play that role. Either way the kid is gonna be a monster if he keeps it up. i wish him all the best.

  188. Kenny_B says:

    I’m sorry but Michael Bradley was terrible against Ghana. Granted Ricardo Clark actually turned the ball over….but Bradley put him in serious bind in the first place with the slow pass to Clark in the first place. Bradley then leisurely tracked back after the turnover. Clark owned up to the mistake…but Bradley had a big foot in it.

    Even more disasterous was Bradley’s shot when he was one on one with the keeper. A player with an A- rating would have buried that shot. He never even got his head up before taking the shot.

    In the group stages he was one of our best players for sure…but he was bad against Ghana.

  189. Cas says:

    While it is true that Löw was the brains behind Germany´s 2006 WC team, it was Klinsmann who picked Löw as his assistant.

    That is exactly the reason why Klinsmann wanted full control as US coach. He´s not someone for the details, he´s a big picture guy with a vision, and he makes a lot of right decisions. He was also the scapegoat at Bayern for mistakes of the front office.

    I think he is exactly what the US needs, a pro-active guy in charge with a vision and a plan.

  190. Kenny_B says:

    You make a really good point against your own argument. “Torres was given 2 chances to shine”.

    If Torres had as many games under his belt as Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark he might not have had the nerves. Torres should have seen way more playing time during the qualifiers. He rarely saw playing time with the regular starters.

    It’s fine for you take make an argument against Torres, but the absolute declaration at the end is ridiculous.

  191. sandtrout says:

    Dudes, every team has injured players at World Cup time. Every team has controversial call-ups and starting lineups. Just saying we’re not at all alone in these factors, and we can count on them again in 2014.

  192. sandtrout says:

    “but so does communism”! I’ve got to use that line sometime soon.

  193. sandtrout says:

    I definitely think Michael Bradley’s presence should make them want to get rid of Bob, not keep him. MB was very good in this World Cup, but the USMNT needs a new set of relatively unbiased eyes looking at all the players. Sometime, BB could have even tried a starting lineup without MB. Imagine that! Say, an Edu with a Holden. Worth a try in a home game against Haiti, no?

  194. SwerveZ says:

    I agree with this as well; perfect position for Klinsy…and he ain’t leavin’ California for Europe, he’s stayin’ right here in the U.S.

  195. SwerveZ says:

    What’s up with Jones? Will he play against Brazil???

  196. papa g says:

    does anyone know if jermaine jones is an option for the future or is he too old/too injured?

  197. phil says:

    who do you forsee being big enough, mobile enough and tactically aware enough to form the 3 of your back 3? I agree with the idea of 5 midfeilders, esoecially if holden and feilhaber contune to develop, but I think we should go with a 4-5-1 with Altidore as a holding traget forward and Davies coming off the bench for a spark in a 4-4-2. but our defensive corps is not nearly sharp enough to mind the store with 3.

  198. phil says:

    ah, i see what you’re getting at now….

  199. phil says:

    so if we went with 5 MF you’d see him lining up something like this?


    this to me would be very interesting Feilhaber could interchange with Torres, or Depmsey, Holden for Bradley or Donovan, and we haven’t even started talking about pups waiting in the wings….

    Now if only we had a cold blooded finisher up top. and a bunch of really fast, smart, tough, 6’6″ ft defenders… Yep, then we’d be pretty much set. Aw heck 6 outta 11 ain’t bad….

  200. phil says:

    …and having run ragged against algeria after running ragged against what should have been an easy win against slovenia.

    in hindsight it was easy to see how easy it could be for ghana to pick us off, exhausted after 2 draining games and two days rest. it took 120 minutes and one of the best goals of the tourney to do it. yes Clark pooched it, but it’s far more complex than one blown play.

  201. phil says:

    Moyes is not leaveing everton for a nats gig, if he did it would be for scotland. Ditto for Wenger. You might as will put santa claus and teh easter bunny n your list.

  202. FulhamPete says:

    New lineups withOUT MB? Sounds great, particularly since he was arguably our best player this world cup.

    I think it’s great to do that in unimportant Gold Cups and friendlies. But if the match has any kind of Confederations Cup or World Cup implications, there is NO WAY IN HELL MB should ride the pine.
    No way.

  203. aristophanes says:

    obviously they were developed up to a point before the EPL. My point is that the EPL developed them to the next level, from promising youngster in a lower division, to world-class international players. That’s not too hard to understand.

  204. A Guest says:

    I disagree that “the EPL developed” them to the next level.

    Is that so hard to understand?

  205. philmatt24 says:

    Ives, do you think it’s fair to say that the two early subs vs. Ghana were a major factor? If BB hadn’t burned two subs replacing the inept and ineffective Clark and Findley by halftime, we could have brought on more fresh legs as the game neared or entered the extra 30 minutes. That might not have stopped Gyan’s goal, but it might have provided a little more spark to have Holden or Buddle or Torres come on with Gomez…

  206. Dennis says:

    Her is what Gomes said about Bob Bradley:

    Gomez defended Bradley’s tactical decisions, many of which had worked during the tournament.

    “Bob’s a great coach,” Gomez said. “He did what he believed what was best for the team. We win as a team. We lose as a team.”

    Gomez said he has no problems with how Bradley used him.

    “Absolutely,” he said. “Bob was very fair to me. I loved playing for him. He gave me an opportunity of a lifetime, and I’ll always be grateful to him.

    Strange that so many of the comments here can find nothing good to say about BB.

  207. Stephen says:

    Essentially we have 5 defenders. 2 defensive mids sitting just in front of the defense, granted they are also “offensive” players in that they are the outlet from the defense to the offense and sometimes they push up.

    I don’t know what defenders would fit there. New Zealand in the world Cup played with 3 defenders, so did Chile, do you mean to tell me that they have defenders that are “better” (by that i mean more tactically aware, bigger and faster) than we do? Ryan Nelsen? A 35 year old central defender…bigger and faster?

    Goodson is big and fast, not saying he would be the best. Gale, Gonzalez, Cameron, those are all people who could be strong CB options. I don’t know, man. That’s what we have 2 tournaments and 4 years to figure out.

    Also, I’m not saying we run all of a sudden change to a 3-5-2 a week before the Gold Cup, that’s what training is for. That’s where people become knowledgeable about their assignments. That’s when they become tactically aware. They have to grow into the system.

    I’m not saying 3-5-2 was/is the best option, but it’s certainly not the worst.

  208. Stephen says:

    +1. See, I think all the Gold Cups are important. National pride man. That’s why teams in UEFA take the Euro Cup so seriously. It’s national pride. Until we can take pride in winning and winning everything (or at least trying) we will not progress. We should send our best team into any tournament, especially ones we get an invite too such as Copa America.

    Also, has anyone thought about the fact that if Brazil wins the WC there will possibly be two spots open in the Gold cup in 2013. Think about it, they are the World Champs (who get an automatic invite), the host country (who get an invite), and quite possible could be the CONMEBOL champs (who also get an invite). This would leave 2 spots open, who would get those two spots?

  209. Stephen says:

    That’s one thing I will say that BB did well. He made the team a team. They played together. The older guys were leaders, and the whole team played their hearts out. We didn’t have to deal with this prima donna BS like some of the more high profile teams. A tactical genius? No. But a smart and able coach? Yes.

  210. Stephen says:

    I haven’t heard if he is in training or not.